Cyber Terrorism & Information All Term Paper

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The increasing skill of these terrorists in using cyberspace has led some officials to believe that they are on the point of using computers for increasing bloodshed. This new threat is not similar to hackers' earlier using computers for passing viruses and worms. This has now reached a level of being able to reach the meeting point of computers and physical structures controlled by computers. The belief of analysts in U.S. is that they may try to disable or control floodgates in dams or electrical stations handling large quantities of power and through them destroy lives and property around them.

Though there is not much evidence, they believe that al Qaeda may be using these capacities with other weapons like explosives. The al Qaeda is known to have capacity to use other sites for their own benefit, and al Qaeda laptop in Afghanistan had visited the French site of Anonymous Society. From this they had apparently collected a sabotage handbook which had sections on tools required by terrorists, planning a hit, switch gear and instrumentation, air surveillance and other such matter. In Islamic chat rooms there were some computers linked up to the al Qaeda computers that had access to crack tools that permit computers to search computers on the network, find out their security defects and thus find the method to gain full control of such computers. In the recent analysis of the logs which trace the path of computers, it has been found by U.S. investigators that al Qaeda persons have been spending time at sites that give software and programming for digital switches used to run, power, water and other communication grids. (Gellman, 2002)

During the interrogations of al Qaeda prisoners recently, there has been information passed on by the prisoners that they would like to use these methods. There has also been a police investigation in California that they have found a suspicious pattern of surveillance of computers used by Silicon Valley. It was seen that Unknown browsers from the Middle East and South Asia were trying to find out details of the digital system that is used for the management of utilities and government offices in California. This made a high technology crime expert warn the FBI through its computer intrusion squad. FBI in turn studied the matter in greater detail with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They have found many intrusions, and a summary of that says that this was being conducted through telecommunication switches in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia. The matters studied by the visitors were telephone systems, electrical generation and transmission, water storage and distribution, nuclear power plants and gas facilities. (Gellman, 2002)

However the subject of information warfare includes a lot of action and of those actions, cyber attacks may not be that important. It is true that information operations and superiority are very important for war, it is still not a world where any country places its own forces in a position where they can be manipulated through computers, which can be attacked from outside. This limits the effect of cyber attacks which are just code sent through the network of computers. There are reports of military computers being hacked, but these are not necessarily connected to the Net. There are however clear indications that regular reports indicate many attacks that have taken place on the computers of the Department of Defense, but these attacks have not led to any degradation of the capabilities of the U.S. military. (Lewis, 2002)

Works Cited

Cyber-terrorism. (30 April, 2005) Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber-terrorismAccessed on 14 May, 2005

Gellman, Barton. (June 27, 2002) "Cyber-Attacks by Al Qaeda Feared" Washington Post. P: A01. Retrieved at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A50765-2002Jun26?language=printerAccessed on 14 May, 2005

Lewis, James a. (December, 2002) "Assessing the Risks of Cyber Terrorism, Cyber War and Other Cyber Threats" Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved at http://www.csis.org/tech/0211_lewis.pdf. Accessed on 14 May, 2005

O' Neil, Michael J. (2001) "Cyber-Terrorism: Case Study" Excerpt from Terrorism and the Law, by Yonah Alexander and Edgar H. Brenner, Editors. Transnational Publishers, Inc. Retrieved at http://www.terrorismcentral.com/Library/Teasers/ONeil.CyberT.html. Accessed on 14 May, 2005

Pollitt, Mark M. "Cyber-Terrorism - Fact or Fancy?" Retrieved at http://www.cs.georgetown.edu/~denning/infosec/pollitt.html. Accessed on 14 May, 2005

Thibodeau, Patrick. (17 September, 2001) "U.S. commission eyes cyber-terrorism threat ahead" Retrieved at http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/story/0,10801,63965,00.html. Accessed on 14 May, 2005

Vatis, Michael. (2001) "Cyber Terrorism and Information Warfare: Government Perspectives" Excerpt from Cyber Terrorism and Information Warfare by Yonah Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam. Transnational Publishers. Retrieved at http://www.terrorismcentral.com/Library/Teasers/vatis.html. Accessed on 14 May, 2005[continue]

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